Last week I wrote the need for Christians to serving. Serving others it the biblical form of leadership, but we see throughout Scripture that those in leadership positions that were supposed to serve the people end up leading the people astray because they are not just.
I am leading a study though Micah on Wednesday evenings, and through Micah, God condemns leaders who have a lifestyle of violence, oppression, selfishness, and injustice toward others. As the old saying goes, the leaders were “chewing up and spitting out” the people under their authority. All too often selfishness and jealousy eventually lead to injustices toward those who are weaker. God rejected violence as an acceptable behavior pattern as far back as Noah’s flood, and He judged the Egyptians for their oppressive injustice to the Hebrews.
When modern leaders, whether inside or outside of the church, behave oppressively or unjustly, it is a sign that they do not fear God. Leaders who act this way have either thoroughly rejected God’s instructions about justice in the Scriptures or are so perverted by their selfishness and rationalization of improper behavior that they no longer fully comprehend the distinction between right and wrong.
By the way, all of us are leaders. You may not have an official position of leadership, but if you are a parent, you are a leader. There are people at work that look to you for direction. There are those that watch you and desire to act like you. You are a leader, but what kind of leader are you?
If leaders cannot be trusted to do the right and just thing, how can one respect their decisions and follow them? Too often a leader’s selfish goals and desires are given higher value than justice.
The lack of concern for others should never be a characteristic of leader, especially in the church. However, we pastors are the worst at taking resistance and complaints personally, then showing injustice to those who do not support us. I see others that bow down to influential church members, especially those with wealth, and manipulate them for their own good and wishes.
Scripture condemns those who center much of their attention on gaining possessions, are unprincipled or unjust in the way they achieve status and power, or place their hope and satisfaction in money or power. If leaders center their hearts on God, they will value justice, serve others, and enjoy whatever God has given them. Bonhoeffer said that “our being Christian today will be limited to two things: prayer and doing justice among men.” Such statements should not be taken lightly, for the level of devotion to prayer and justice reveals a great deal about a person’s relationship to God.
Spiritual leaders like Billy Graham are respected and used by God because they do not get caught up in all the controversies and have a deep sense of the presence of the Spirit filling their lives. Dr. Graham speaks boldly about sin, includes themes about God’s injustice, and is not shy about calling people to forsake the selfish cares of the world. Although no human leader is perfect or should be set up as the ideal example to follow, God can powerfully use leaders who are marked by justice. But God will abandon those who lead people astray through unjust behavior.